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What Drives Inflation in the Major OECD Economies?

  • Diego Moccero
  • Shingo Watanabe
  • Boris Cournède

This paper presents an empirical analysis of the determinants of inflation in the United States, Japan, the euro area and the United Kingdom, focusing on the role of resource utilisation, inflation expectations, inflation persistence and imported inflation. It also includes a cross-sectional analysis that focuses on inflation dynamics over episodes of persistent large slack and low inflation. The main findings of this analysis are as follows: i) During the crisis, the stability of inflation expectations has held up actual inflation, so far preventing the huge slack in resource utilisation from leading to a disinflationary spiral; ii) Disinflationary pressures also seem to have been moderated by the flattening of the Phillips curve in an environment of persistent large economic slack and low inflation; iii) The link between long-term inflation expectations and past inflation outcomes has become weaker over time and appears to have almost disappeared recently; iv) The estimated Phillips curves coupled with the November 2010 projection of explanatory variables presented in the OECD Economic Outlook No. 88 and excluding the recent period of strong commodity prices point to inflation remaining low but positive, except in Japan where deflation is expected to continue past end-2012; v) The inflation outlook and associated risks argue for withdrawing monetary policy accommodation gradually in the short term, while being vigilant about the build up of broad-based inflationary pressures over the medium term. Quels sont les facteurs d'inflation dans les économies de l'OCDE Cet article présente une analyse empirique des déterminants de l'inflation aux États-Unis, au Japon, dans la zone euro et au Royaume-Uni, mettant l'accent sur le rôle de l'utilisation des ressources, les anticipations d'inflation, la persistance de l'inflation et l'inflation importée. Il propose également une analyse de la dynamique de l'inflation au cours des épisodes durables de nette sous-utilisation des capacités et de faible inflation. Les principales conclusions de cette analyse sont les suivantes: i) Pendant la crise, la stabilité des anticipations d'inflation a empêché que le sous-emploi des ressources ne conduise à une spirale déflationniste, ii) Il semble également que les pressions désinflationnistes aient été modérées par l'aplatissement de la courbe de Phillips dans un contexte de faiblesse économique persistante et de basse inflation; iii) L’influence des derniers chiffres d’inflation sur les attentes d'inflation à long terme s'est affaiblie au fil du temps et semble avoir presque disparu récemment; iv) Des prévisions fondées sur les courbes de Phillips estimées et les projections des Perspectives Économiques de l’OCDE n°88 de novembre 2010 excluant la période récente de hausse des prix des produits de base suggèrent une inflation restant faible, mais positive d’ici à fin 2012, sauf au Japon où la déflation devrait se poursuivre au moins jusqu’au-delà de cette période; v) La configuration des risques à court terme et à moyen terme plaide pour un retrait progressif de l’expansion monétaire en demeurant vigilant quant au risque d’apparition de pressions inflationnistes à moyen terme.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 854.

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Date of creation: 08 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:854-en
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